Every Sunday in this column, I’ll run through some arts and culture highlights from Baltimore and the D.C., Maryland and Virginia region — and, when it makes sense, some broader, nonlocal topics, too. Plus, every now and then I’ll provide some of my favorite tunes.
This week I look into Tupac Shakur’s childhood Waverly home going for sale, new music from Baltimore rapper Rican Da Menace and Park Heights artists Yg Teck’s Thanksgiving turkey drive.
Tupac Shakur’s Baltimore residence is ready for purchase
In the 26 years since his murder, Tupac Shakur, aka 2Pac, has become the closest thing to what you could consider a hip-hop deity. There are theories of him faking his death and moving to Cuba; his “Thug Life” tagline has reached a place in pop culture that he may not have even wanted; and it feels safe to say that, stylistically, he’s the most influential rapper ever in terms of what the genre has become in his absence.
But before he meant any of that to the world, Shakur was a child brought up in a family with Black Panther Party ties that bounced around quite a bit. One of the more crucial stops they made was during his teen years, when he and his mom moved from New York City to Baltimore. You could argue that it’s here where Pac started putting the pieces together for his life as a once-in-a-generation kind of artist. At Roland Park Middle School and then at the Baltimore School for the Arts, he took up dance, theater and, of course, rapping with friends.
His home base during his tenure here was the first-floor apartment at 3955 Greenmount Avenue in Waverly. That’s been a well known fact for Baltimoreans who like to brag on Pac’s formative years in our city.
Earlier this month, the house became available on the market and the Pac association is being used as a selling point. On the Redfin listing, the description begins: “Purchase a piece of Baltimore History. Tupac Shakur resided in the first floor apartment at the age of 13 in 1984.” The two bedroom, three bathroom house is listed for $179,000 and is zoned as a two-unit building. If nothing else, it could be cool to just go for a viewing.
Get a turkey from Yg Teck
Park Heights native and local standout rapper Yg Teck is big on community. For people outside of this region, he’s one of the better known Baltimore artists right now — most recently seen hanging out in New Orleans with Crescent City rising star, Rob49, and Detroit’s Peezy. But on Tuesday, he’ll take a break from the spotlight to come back home and give turkeys away for Thanksgiving at his No Excusez apparel shop on West 25th Street. His third annual turkey drive begins at 1 p.m., and it will likely continue until they run out of birds.
Rican Da Menace is making a strong case for herself right now
I’d never heard of Rican Da Menace before this year, but from the small sample size of music that I’ve taken in, I’m interested to see where the Baltimore rapper can take things. She has a deep register and cutting delivery that, to me, sounds like she could be a battle rapper if she was from a city that prioritized that part of the genre. What first caught my eye over the summer was her song “Ain’t Going Back” because of how undeniably Baltimore it is. In the video, she causes a scene in front of the Hip Hop Fish & Chicken on Reisterstown Road — which is locally known as Wheel Deal, a dirt bike meetup. And to top it off, her impassioned bars about her desire to continue elevating in life are over a mashup of Baltimore Club and NY Drill production.
Most recently, she released “I Admit It,” a song in which she barely pauses for a breath because she’s too busy listing off the ways that the majority of rappers are not in the same class of skill. Her output is a bit too sparse to say what she may become in the future — there’s been too many instances of promising stars that fizzle out shortly after — but, if she continues at this pace, she could very well be a name that sticks around.